World of One: The World is Watching

The World is Watching – Shot towards the end of May, about a week before NYC started to emerge from lockdown. This image is inspired by how I felt the world (particularly Asia) was watching the U.S during the beginning of the pandemic.

World of One: Lost and Found

Lost and Found 2018GicléeImage size (HxW): 24” x 40” | Paper Size (HxW): 30″ x 6″ | Edn 5 While it’s a bit late, today I’m happy to unveil my first World of One entry for 2020 – Lost and Found. This was originally shot in November 2018, but I didn’t finish the composite till just last week. As for the reason why, it’s really quite simple.  I’m an idiot.  I somehow managed to misplace the files for half the rolls I took. Seeing as how I only took two rolls, I couldn’t see how I’d finish the image when …

Seeing the Same but Different

I was hanging out with a couple art friends one night last October, and I mentioned (as an aside to our conversation) that “I know a lot of doctors because you know, I’m Asian.” To which one of them replied “You’re talking to a couple Jews here Johnny.” It’s amazing how our perception of things changes with time. We can look at the exact same picture, and see and feel something completely different depending on our circumstances. When I initially finished Diligentia, I hated it. I felt like it lacked all the technical hallmarks that made a successful World of …

Making Art During a Pandemic – How it Feels to be an Artist on Lockdown

I really don’t want to write about this, because it generally makes me uncomfortable to talk about my money. My father always told me “Never let other people know how much you make or how much you have.” Plus as a single guy, it’s a bad look to admit you’re broke. But I want people to understand, because as a freelancer I know my story isn’t unique. Even before the pandemic cancelled everything, I was already at the end of my rope. I had about $300 to my name coming into March, and many times that in debt. I have …

Solitarius

Solitarius – This seems like an appropriate share for today. Shot in April 2017 featuring the beautiful Nadia, who you might recognize from some of my other photos. This image plays on the same themes as the Stranger (my first Cherry Blossom portrait) such as the line between loneliness and solitude. Around this time every year, I start to get really anxious when the Cherry Blossoms start to bloom. Because every year, I know I have a narrow window to shoot a piece that includes them. These portraits are always challenging, because I essentially have to balance two to three …

BBoy Monsters: Xcel

When I started dancing in back in 2001, Xcel (as in to accelerate – not the spreadsheet) was one of the top guys in the Boston scene where I came up. He was also one of the earliest supporters of our suburban breaking crew. I even quoted him in my high school yearbook!! When my crew was organizing one of our earliest events, some crews were hesitant about going up against some of the more experienced cats. Xcel replied “If you have skills, no one can ever take them from you.” That was something that really stuck with me throughout …

Door Gods

When world champion bodybuilder Brian Hazel approached me about giving him the BBoy Monster-esqu treatment, I was hesitant at first. Until now, I had never attached limbs skin to skin before. In the case of the BBoy Monsters, I also do a lot of blending for the limbs by hiding boundaries within the folds of clothing. Initially I even turned him down, recommending him to a friend who specializes in photographing bodybuilders. But Brian assured me that it was my particular expertise and vision that he was after. So I reluctantly agreed. My original concept for this set of images, …

World of One: Death of Narcissus

Death of Narcissus is a homage to Hippolyte Bayard’s Self-Portrait as a Drowned Man, one of my favorite early photographs (and one of the world’s first selfies!). While the technical setup for this image has been floating around in my head for years. It wasn’t until I saw this Vox video reminding me of Bayard’s picture, that the inspiration for the narrative came to me. Hippolyte Bayard is a pioneer and inventor of photography in who lived in 19th century France. But he was was overlooked by the French Academy of Sciences in favor of his rival Louis Daguerre, who …

BBoy Monster: Kilo

Kilo and I used to hit the same practice spot until it got closed down. He’s always had an interesting and original style incorporating lots of flexible movements. In short, his style is perfect for the strengths of this series. Kilo was a dream to work with. He came with a bunch of ideas having been exposed to the work previously. The multiple heads/faces was actually his idea. He wanted them “like those Hindu sculptures” he said. I think one of the faces ones works much more seamlessly than others. But overall I’m content with how these came out. Another …

Grandpa

Grandpa, this is how I’ll always remember you, looking healthy, wise and curious. By the time I took this, you had already forgotten my name. You had already forgotten that I was your grandson. But of course, I remembered you, I remembered who you were to me. My grandfather taught high school physics in Taiwan for most of his life. But for me, he mostly just taught me about life. Some of my favorite lessons included: “Always strive to be #2. You get almost the same respect as #1, but with half the responsibility!” “You have to grasp the root …